Rediff.com« Back to articlePrint this article

PICS: 'Two out of two' for dominant Djokovic

July 28, 2021 19:24 IST

Players happy after heat woes prompt tennis schedule change

Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic in action against Brazil's Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani during their Olympics mixed doubles first round match

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic in action against Brazil's Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani during their Olympics mixed doubles first round match, at Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo, on Wednesday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic eased into the Tokyo 2020 men's singles quarter-finals on Wednesday, satisfied with his form and organisers' decision to delay the start of matches amid complaints from players about the hot and humid conditions.

Tennis matches at the Ariake Tennis Park will begin from 3pm local time (0600 GMT) from Thursday, governing body International Tennis Federation said after requests from players who had struggled in the stifling weather.

 

World number two Daniil Medvedev, who along with Djokovic had lobbied for the schedule change, said he had struggled to breathe during his 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 third round win over Italian Fabio Fognini.

"Even from the first set, I didn't feel good enough with my breathing," said the 25-year-old, who is competing for the Russian Olympic Committee. "That's why I called the physio, I felt like my diaphragm was blocked."

Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee celebrates after winning his third round match against Italy's Fabio Fognini

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee celebrates after winning his third round match against Italy's Fabio Fognini. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Medvedev next plays Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, whose compatriot Paula Badosa retired from her women's singles quarter-final match against Czech Marketa Vondrousova due to heatstroke.

Badosa and Carreno Busta also withdrew from the mixed doubles event which began on Wednesday.

Djokovic, who took to the court later in the afternoon, said he was happy with the scheduling change after a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

He followed up that match with a victory in the mixed doubles, partnering Nina Stojanovic to take out Brazilian pair Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani 6-3, 6-4.

"I'm very satisfied with my performance," Djokovic said.

"It's first time that I'm playing officially mixed doubles and it's amazing how well we clicked and the chemistry was very good from the beginning and just played a great match. Perfect ending of the day, two out of two."

The 34-year-old Serbian, who is aiming to become the first man to win all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold in the same calendar year, booked a singles quarter-final meeting with Japan's Kei Nishikori, who moved past Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 7-6(7), 6-0.

France's Ugo Humbert celebrates after winning his third round match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.

IMAGE: France's Ugo Humbert celebrates after winning his third round match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Nishikori, who won the bronze medal at the Rio Games in 2016, is the host country's last remaining hope for a singles medal after women's number two Naomi Osaka lost in a third round upset on Tuesday.

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, who made the final at Roland Garros last month, was beaten 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 by Frenchman Ugo Humbert.

Fellow French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also lost, falling 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 in the women's singles to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, who will face Kazakh Elena Rybakina for a spot in the gold medal match.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in action during her quarter-final against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of the Russian Olympic Committee.

IMAGE: Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in action during her quarter-final against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of the Russian Olympic Committee. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Ukraine's world number six Elina Svitolina, the fourth and highest surviving seed in the women's singles draw, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over an error-prone Camila Giorgi of Italy.

Newly-wed Svitolina, watched by husband and French tennis star Gael Monfils, said she felt no extra pressure after top seeds Ash Barty, Osaka, and Aryna Sabalenka crashed out.

"You know when you are higher ranked everyone wants to beat you and everyone is extremely motivated to beat you," she said.

"I just try to focus on my game and not think so much about what's going on in the other side of the net."

Source: REUTERS
© Copyright 2021 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.